- He or she is a person of color, typically Black, often Native American, in a story about predominantly White characters.
- He or she seems to have nothing better to do than help the White protagonist, who is often a stranger to the Magical Negro at first.
- He or she disappears, dies, or sacrifices something of great value after or while helping the White protagonist.
- He or she is uneducated, mentally handicapped, at a low position in life, or all of the above.
- He or she is wise, patient, and spiritually in touch. Closer to the earth, one might say. He or she often literally has magical powers